Acclaimed film director Jean-Luc Godard, who is heading a strong Swiss presence at the 57th Cannes film festival, has screened his latest work.
Tuesday night marked a welcome return to the festival for the 73-year-old director of “A Bout de Souffle” (Breathless).
Godard’s “Notre Musique” (Our Music) was the 13th film he has presented in the southern French resort since 1970.
His latest work, which is split into three parts, is a drama documentary filmed in Sarajevo.
It was screened out of competition alongside Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education”.
“Bienvenue en Suisse” (Welcome to Switzerland), the first film by Léa Fazer, a Swiss author and theatre director, has already been screened out of competition.
The film opened the 20-strong world cinema programme at the festival.
“This year the Swiss presence is much stronger than in the past,” said Micha Schiwow, head of Swiss Films, which promotes Swiss filmmaking.
“But this should not mask the reality that it is still extremely hard for Swiss films in Cannes.”
Schiwow says Switzerland has not been seen abroad as a “creative country” for 15 years or so, adding that it lacks a reputation for filmmaking.
Other films with a Swiss connection include “Un Crime Etrange” (A Strange Crime) by Italian director Roberto Ando, and the short animation “L’Homme sans Ombre” (Man without a Shadow) by Geneva’s Georges Schwitzgebel.
For the second year running, there will also be a Swiss pavilion in Cannes, sponsored by Presence Switzerland, which promotes the country abroad.
Competition for this year’s Palme d’Or promises to be fierce, with 18 films striving for the jury’s approval.
Tarantino, who won the prize a decade ago with “Pulp Fiction”, presides over a panel including actresses Emmanuelle Béart, Tilda Swinton and Kathleen Turner.
Two-times winner, Bosnian-born Emir Kusturica is back with “Zivot Je Cudo” (Life is a Miracle), while the Coen brothers - winners in 1991 - are presenting their remake of the classic Ealing comedy, “The Ladykillers”.
Other contenders include Wong Kar-Wai’s “2046” and Brazilian director Walter Salles’ “Motorcycle Diaries”, an adaptation of a journal written by Che Guevara.
Michael Moore, the controversial United States filmmaker, has entered his “Fahrenheit 9/11”, which attacks President Bush’s handling of the September 11 attacks.
The “Official Selection” also includes two animations: “Shrek 2” and “Innocence” by Japan’s Oshii Mamoru.
Last year’s Cannes film festival was generally perceived to have been a dull affair; this time organisers admit they have gone for what they term as “intelligent, popular films”.
This is a move likely to upset critics who often complain that Hollywood and commercial movies sometimes overrun more artistic choices.
“As always, the difficulty comes in respecting the balance, and that's what we're trying to do,” said Gilles Jacob, festival president.
“That's why the idea of maximum diversity is so difficult to reach, but I hope we have attained it.”
swissinfo with agencies
This year’s festival is screening 56 feature-length films, including 46 world premieres.
3,562 feature and short films were submitted for selection – an increase of 42.5% on 2003.
30,000 people have been accredited by the festival: 1,000 directors and writers; 4,000 distributors; 5,000 producers; and 4,000 journalists.
More than 1,000 police have been deployed to ensure security at the festival.
On Tuesday festival organisers reached a last-ditch deal with technicians and part-time French actors who had planned to disrupt the event with a series of protests against social welfare cuts.
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